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Six Flags St. Louis (SFStL) Discussion Thread

p. 550 - Hallowfest trip report!

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I learned that lesson years ago.... Never go to the park on bring a friend for free day... 1.5hr wait to ride Ninja..no thank you. You know there is a lot of people at the park when there is a wait longer than 10 min to ride Ninja.

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We definitely had our busiest day of the year Saturday. The attendance was really big, but trust me, no where close to record breaking. It was definitely one of the higher numbers I have heard in the past few seasons, but there still have been bigger days in recent years. Not only was it bring a friend weekend, numbers were also higher than normal for this weekend due to low attendance and early closings due to a week and half of rain.... it all came together for a perfect storm.

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When I worked there in the early 1980's we had concerts almost weekly from touring acts. Some of the more popular ones could have people parking in the grass near the exit. Cheap Trick drew quite a crowd.

 

The other big day was the "Senior Night" that kept the park open until some insane hour (3:00am?). Due to some boneheaded scheduling a lot of us had to open the next morning. Quite a few people slept in their cars.

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Talking about those crowds on Saturday, It was crazy! We had decided to go Saturday because the day before we had planned to go and the park closed at 1 PM. So Yeah we got to the park about an hour early, and people were already lined up at the gate trying to get in. When we got there, there wasn't as many people there yet, so it was about like a normal opening from what I could tell. So we got in line for the gold pass entrance, and got in about 5 minutes early. Basically we were there to rid JL:BFM so we got in line for it around 10:25, it was down with tech difficulties. So we decided to wait, since this was our main reason for coming here. Around 12:15 they finally opened and we got to go into the nice air conditioning, the heat was sweltering that day. Anyways it was funny when we got in, we got up to the loading bay, and they were still having some problems. The cars would get moving and then stop after only going a foot or so. I assumed it was a sensor problem. So the maintenance guy came over and fixed it and got the cars moving, I bet it wasn't 15 secs later, he was walking down the exit ramp. The ride then stopped again, turning the panel red. So the supervisor, started hollering down at the exit like "KEVIN!!!!! COME BACK!!!" At this point I was laughing. But all ended up well, and for the ride. I was super impressed! The guns worked fantastically! The ride had smooth action, and it was awesome seeing all the JL come together. Very impressed with that ride, I think its funny to say this, but I would rather ride JL:BFM over Transformers at Universal. Anyways back to the park, we get done with that ride, and I wanted to ride the boss since I had never ridden it before, and my dad wanted to ride american thunder. So we split up and the funny thing is all the way up to about 1 PM there were not any lines in the park. Except for justice league of course. So boss was walk on, and American Thunder was too. We rode both and met back up. We ended up deciding to head on out. We had to get the rental car back, and we had a four hour drive home. So we decided to just do what we came there to do and leave. So we are heading out, and I hear this guy say "It took us an hour and a half to get in here" I started to chuckle because I thought he was joking. So we go out the exit, and is absolute mayhem by the front gate. People lined up everywhere! Then we get out to the metal detectors, and the line is literally all the way into the parking lot, and stretching all the way over to where the parking lot booths are. My dad and me just look at each other, and are like "Man I am glad we got here early this morning". But seriously, I think if we would have saw that crowd, we would have just went on home. Also not to mention, the exit ramps for the park, coming off the interstate, was backed up for at least 2 miles. It was definitely one of the wildest park things I have seen in a long time. Well thats about it, just thought I would share my experience and thoughts on that day. Thanks for reading my ramble, if you made it this far lol.

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I learned that lesson years ago.... Never go to the park on bring a friend for free day... 1.5hr wait to ride Ninja..no thank you.

 

Hah. Reminds me of going to the park when I was younger. Back when the queue would be completely full.

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Saturday was the busiest day the park has had in several years (in reality it was probably a typical Saturday in the 90's), it was really the perfect storm of events - bring a friend free and the rain for the entire week before (attendance on Friday was in the hundreds when the park closed at 1), the park basically doubled it's attendance total for the previous 5 days (last week) in one day.

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This will be my Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday Post

Yea....I didn't really want to mention Saturday, as my work life is still consumed by the aftermath of the weekend. Now when SFZIP and others talk about the "perfect storm" from rained out days & bring a friend, you are also forgetting that the very popular "buy four or more season passes and get a season parking pass free" promotion also expired on Sunday. That added a few thousand people who were just coming to process their passes.

 

After seeing what happened Saturday, a lot of the Operations Management Team (from GR/Admissions to Rides) really worked hard to help keep Sunday from being as bad. Instead of waiting until 10am to scan Guests into the front mall, keeping in mind that the Toll Plaza is set to open at 9:30 daily, the park entry team was ready to get people in closer to 9:40. That way they could stay ahead of the crowd, allowing them to keep the plaza there from backing up as badly. Now thanks to the great rides & security teams (spearheaded by our Director of Operations), they set up Batman plaza to open at 10am including getting Batman, Ninja, and the Joker open right around 10 as well.

 

While Monday was a breath of fresh air for most employees (for me it was nice to only have an 8 hour shift after two 14 hour shifts), a lot of rides were having some more downtime than usual. This extended to Tuesday. Fortunately, I was told that most of the temporary downtime periods were all due to just minor, non-unusual issues. I also found that the park had some lightening strikes, which caused problems for some rides.

 

In summation, it was a rough few days. Thank you for those who bared with all of the employees, as it is sincerely appreciated. For those who are planning to visit this week, things are getting better and better. (Even JLBM will really start to get better overall in the coming weeks.)

 

I do plan on spending at least part of the day tomorrow riding a couple coasters, even though it is my one day off of the week. If anyone is planning on being there that day, let me know!

 

Edit: I have not had a chance to look into the situation with the lights on Colossus yet. I'll have an answer for you sometime in the next few days...I haven't had really any 'free' time at work recently to email/call around, so I apologize for how long it is taking me.

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HWFan, just a couple quick questions about a day like Saturday. I understand if you necessarily can't answer specifics, but was just kinda curious how things worked. Was the crowd expected? If it was expected is there a "black out" for requesting the day off? If people were scheduled off, do they try to call in more staff or was it an all hands on deck situation? Sounds like everyone tried their best to make a difficult situation bearable.

 

Also, any idea what is going on with the tube slides?

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HWFan, just a couple quick questions about a day like Saturday. I understand if you necessarily can't answer specifics, but was just kinda curious how things worked. Was the crowd expected? If it was expected is there a "black out" for requesting the day off? If people were scheduled off, do they try to call in more staff or was it an all hands on deck situation? Sounds like everyone tried their best to make a difficult situation bearable.

 

Also, any idea what is going on with the tube slides?

As long as you request a day off at least two weeks in advanced, you shouldn't have a problem getting off, and there aren't any office black out dates. However, it really varies by department. While the crews in the rides department may vary a little on slow vs. busy days, other departments, mainly Admissions/GR probably vary the most. In GR at least, if you were on vacation or something and managed to be off for any of the bring-a-friend days, concert days, or special weekends like the Fourth of July, your coworkers might give you a hard time in a completely playful, non-serious manner.

 

We knew, like most of you probably did, that there would be a big crowd on Saturday. The thing is, even if you know a tsunami is coming your way, there is only so much you can do to prepare for it (i.e. it's not like another gate could be added). Unfortunately Saturday was more hectic than anyone would like, so that will help everyone prepare better and plan better for the future after seeing what works and what didn't.

 

If the park gets slammed, whether it be without warning or with prior warning like Saturday, a lot of the non-operations departments pitch in, helping out in different areas. For example, all of the HR staff will get sent to the Toll Plaza a lot. Finance and anyone else in the admin building might come to help the front gate, as they will usually put the roll gate on the very right side up to scan in day tickets with the old handheld scanners. Even on random Saturdays in 2013 when there would be a rush at the front gate, it was common to see the Director of Operations, Director of Admissions, and other full-times down at the front gate, working side-by-side with the regular front gate team members to help get people in. I always thought that was pretty cool. None of them had egos like they were to good to help out doing such a basic job.

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Went earlier today and had a really good time. Only annoyance was the Justice League was down. I got roughly halfway in and it was nice from what I saw, really cool(literally). Though it was kind of funny to see everyone rushing when they saw us going in.

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Been at the park all day and they've had trouble with JLBFM all day

A lot of the downtime has even been just 5-7 minutes at a time, while they wait for maintenance to come and reset part of the system. I do know that the manufacturers have been in close contact with the park to keep working on the attraction. At least until I left at 6:00, JLBM had at least been open more than it had been closed today.

 

I hope you had a good time besides that. Honestly, today was THE perfect day to visit. No lines. No bad weather. No big ride issues besides JLBM on and off.

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^^ Just to piggy back Steve's statement, I saw Thunderbird down one time for a total of five minutes this weekend. hmmmm.

 

In all seriousness just a tip to fellow St. Louisans: If you guys get a chance to go to HW this summer DO NOT go on a weekend. It was miserable this weekend. It used to be tolerable on weekends, but I think there's no way it can be called a 'small family park' anymore after the massive crowds I saw this weekend boarding world class attractions. The park is a little too big for its britches at the moment.

'

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^^ Just to piggy back Steve's statement, I saw Thunderbird down one time for a total of five minutes this weekend. hmmmm.

 

In all seriousness just a tip to fellow St. Louisans: If you guys get a chance to go to HW this summer DO NOT go on a weekend. It was miserable this weekend. It used to be tolerable on weekends, but I think there's no way it can be called a 'small family park' anymore after the massive crowds I saw this weekend boarding world class attractions. The park is a little too big for its britches at the moment.

'

 

Thunderbird... yep, world class. Voyage... yep, world class if you enjoy huge woodies that shake you to pieces (which I do). But it's not everybody's cup of tea. And other that that, not real sure what world class attractions you're talking about. My last visit to HW two years ago, other than Voyage (and Legend and Raven, which are good, but hardly world class) my impression was that the rides were, for the most part, similar to what you'd see at a large traveling fair. Now the water park, THAT was world class and well worth the drive all by itself.

 

Now, back to SFStL: I'm not at all sure the gentleman I was talking to expected me to put this online, so I will leave him anonymous and speak in general terms, but I have it on reliable authority that the folks responsible for JLBFM are working overnights whenever the park is closed to correct the problems the ride has been having, including the lack of reliability and constant resets (which I now know the cause of, but again, will not say because I'm not real sure I won't get someone in trouble by saying what it is, and I'm not going to do that), and also the issue with the lack of volume of the sound effects, particularly the volume of the dialog. Rest assured, from what I was told, the time is being put in to correct these issues, and things should improve markedly in terms of both reliability and ride quality.

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Thunderbird... yep, world class. Voyage... yep, world class if you enjoy huge woodies that shake you to pieces (which I do). But it's not everybody's cup of tea. And other that that, not real sure what world class attractions you're talking about. My last visit to HW two years ago, other than Voyage (and Legend and Raven, which are good, but hardly world class) my impression was that the rides were, for the most part, similar to what you'd see at a large traveling fair. Now the water park, THAT was world class and well worth the drive all by itself.

 

It's almost like you were arguing for the sake of being argumentative. You don't view Raven (golden ticket winner and praised throughout the enthusiast community) and Legend as being World Class. Holiday World = Large county fair.

 

Noted. Thanks.

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Although I have only been to this park once with a TPR trip - I really enjoyed it. I just wanted to stop in and say thanks to our park people on this thread with keeping everyone updated on goings on. This is the only thread where I've really seen this and I think it is awesome.

 

Thanks!

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